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  • Writer's pictureAli Roff

3 Limiting health and fitness beliefs (and why they aren't true)!

Could limiting beliefs be holding you back from your health and wellness goals? Body and Mind coach and co-founder of Wellfulness has come across (and deconstructed) many limiting beliefs in his own life and the lives of his clients. From 'it's downhill after 30', to 'one bad meal has ruined all my progress', he shares the three top limiting beliefs he's uncovered, explains why they are big fat myths, and shares how to overcome them...

LIMITING BELIEF 1: “I am 29 years old - when I hit 30 that’s when I’ll start to put on weight...”

When it comes to limiting beliefs, we tend to look for information which confirms our belief (this is called confirmation bias). So the first thing we can do is look for information to disprove, or at least counterbalance our limiting belief.

Some studies say that our metabolism slows down past 30 years old, but according to a study cited in an article in the Washington Post “the average person typically puts on 1 to 2 pounds a year from early adulthood through middle age.” - it goes on to say that this happens mostly through our 20's... So not all research supports this theory. 30 years old is often when many of us find ourselves with more responsibility, and therefore stress, which can have a negative impact on our health. So your late 20's and early 30's (actually any age) is a great age to begin a wellness plan designed to looks after your body and mind through moving your body more, taking time to meditate and consuming a healthier diet.

Case study: James Farrar (ME) 

I am 33 and am in the best shape of my life, in body and mind - and I am confident it will only get better as I have consciously designed my life with The Wellfulness Project. At 30 I went plant based for environmental reasons. Luckily for me, my body has become accustomed to nutritious food from the ground, and it works - for me. I now move my body in a way that I know gets results and more importantly is sustainable. Nothing is tough, hard work, or punishment. Each part of it has become habit, and that is because it serves my body, mind & heart - our holistic tick-list here at Wellfulness!


  1. Journal - each day note down what you have done to stay fit in mind and body and WHY you are doing it.

  2. When you find your WHY - use that as your motivation whenever myths or limiting beliefs like the statement above seep into your consciousness. It is a story you have created.

  3. Visualisation - “Athletes can improve their performance by making mental rehearsals. These mental rehearsals train the mind to act, react and take care of the body as visualized, in real life” - imagining your happy, healthy body over the coming years will help you steer clear of debilitating thoughts like “it’s all downhill from here” - that’s a story too.

  4. Find the JOY. If you enjoy the lifestyle you have created it is easier to maintain. Whether that is a sport you love, or a type of food that nourishes you. Read The Wellfulness Project to design a unique lifestyle that works specifically for you and your needs.

  5. Make habits stick - “If you don't feel ready to take an action step forward, don't worry. Just focus on "cognitive goals", where you gather information, think about your options, consider the benefits of change versus staying the same, and map out how you might best integrate new healthy behaviors in your life.“ - I have used cognitive behavioural therapy in the past to combat my own limiting beliefs and anxiety - and it sticks!  

  6. Download our FREE One-Day Wellness Plan here - an easy wellness plan including a 25 minute no-equipment workout, quick motivational morning + evening meditations, workbook and meal and supplement guide.

LIMITING BELIEF 2: “When I’m not training with you, I just can’t work out as hard, I have no motivation.”

I am here to hold my clients accountable, to push them, to guide them… but the fact that you work so hard in your training sessions, gym classes or yoga classes etc. shows you are capable outside of sessions.

This all begins with an “I can’t” attitude - before even starting a client has decided that they won’t even try what they think they can’t achieve.  But I love telling my clients to add the word “yet” onto the end of the sentence. They then have the choice to try.

Case Study: Mark, 50

Until last week Mark, my client, was seeing me for coaching three hours a week. He would work incredibly hard but was transparent in saying he did not move his body outside of our sessions - due to a lack of motivation. I asked him to journal on why this was so. It all came down to ritual and routine; creating a new habit. Considering our three sessions per week had created massive change in his mind and body health, he made the tough decision to cut down to one hour per week. He now trains at the gym three times per week, with guidance (and accountability) from me, at a slightly lower intensity to our personal training sessions, but he feels good. That has become routine - and the joy he gets from that routine is his new motivation. He now trains and uses feeling as his motivation. 

Tips for motivation:

  1. Create a ‘hype’ playlist that makes you look forward to putting those headphones on and losing yourself in the music. 

  2. Keep it fresh. Try something new - there is plenty of free content online. Whether you want to learn how to headstand or handstand or get your 5k time down, there’ll be something online to follow. Follow our youtube channels for workouts that will keep you interested.

  3. Don’t always go it alone. I meet up with my own personal coach or a friend every Saturday morning to run sprints and circuits in the park. Having that exercise buddy really helps to hold you accountable - plus, you are both getting something from it.

  4. Make exercise a priority or what we call a non-negotiable.

  5. Track your fitness. Fitbit, Garmin etc. - by doing this you are in competition with yourself each time you train, whether that’s calories burned, miles run or heart rate. 

LIMITING BELIEF 3: “I didn’t work out on the weekend, and ate pizza and chips, I’m sorry, I feel guilty - I have gone backwards.”

This happened this morning. And I hear it a lot.  My reaction is always the same. “Reframe it… you are now going forwards”. Plus, research shows that when it comes to one 'bad' meal “in terms of weight management, it's negligible as long as you're not doing it every day.” The same source mentions that “a cheeky occasional (we stress: occasional) binge may even assist your weight loss efforts because you won't feel deprived of your favourite foods.” Part of our ethos at Wellfulness is eating, training and living in line with your body, mind and heart values. If you are living inline with those values the majority of the time then a naughty treat could occasionally keep your mind on track. Not allowing that cheat meal to get in the way of your mood is your mission, by reframing that negative story you have chosen to tell yourself enough times that you then believe it.

Case Study: Claire

Claire used to turn up to a Monday morning and the first sentence was negative. She had let herself down. Somehow. Whether that was too much wine, a takeaway or a lack of training. But I remind her: “No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future”. The fact that Claire is here, sweating, endorphins flowing around her body, shows that she is NOW going forward. At the end of the session Claire feels like a new woman. What was all of the self loathing for? As long as we keep moving, no matter how tough it feels at the time, it is the perfect tonic to combat those feelings of guilt/failure.


  1. Don’t divide food into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. There are no good or bad labels unless you create them. Some of what you have labelled as a bad meal, might actually be also very nutritious… (here's looking at you, coconut curry!)

  2. Be compassionate towards your negative thoughts on food and lack of training.

  3. Switch feelings of guilt into a positive affirmation to create a healthier mindset. Eg. “I am balanced when I move my body and eat to fuel my body” - you are then actively working on something to then move forward.

  4. Share the story you tell yourself with a loved one, friend or your personal journal. Claire shared her problem with me, I helped her reframe it, and moments later the guilt she had been feeling for 48 hours had disappeared! 

Train 1:1 with James in London/Kent - find out more here.

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